HC Deb 11 June 1976 vol 912 cc1992-4
Mr. Powell

I beg to move Amendment No. 77, in page 40, line 38, at end insert: '"political opinion" does not include any reference to opinions held or expressed in favour of the use of violence for political ends'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this we are to discuss Government Amendment No. 78.

Mr. Powell

I move Amendment No. 77, despite the fact that Amendment No. 78 meets the same point, because it should be firmly put on record that political opinion is not to be taken as including activities on the basis of which any reasonable person would regard discrimination as thoroughly justified.

We accept that the terminology of the Government's amendment is more comprehensive and accurate and it fulfils the undertaking eventually arrived at after a series of debates in Committee. I express my gratitude and that of my hon. Friends for this very definite and, to many of us, important improvement in the Bill.

Mr. Concaanon

Amendment No. 78 will, I hope, be preferred to Amendment No. 77 by the end of this debate. We tabled our amendment in answer to debates on Clause 16 in Committee and the commitment given by my right hon. Friend the Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme). We had to find a form of words to meet that commitment and we believe we have done it in the amendment, which should remove all doubts from the minds of hon. Members.

It is right that employers in Northern Ireland should be protected against the people referred to in our amendment.

4.15 p.m.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

I am grateful to the Minister of State for what he has just said. From the beginning of the passage of the Bill, starting in another place, misgivings have been expressed that as it stood it could force employers to take on and to receive into their premises those whom they were convinced were a grave security risk, although it could not be proved that they had committed any crime.

We are glad that the hon. Gentleman has introduced the Government amendment, although I had a slight question in my mind—namely, whether it would have been better not to have included the words With Northern Irish affairs and left it at use of violence for political gains". I do not want to quibble about that. It is merely a thought that I share with the hon. Gentleman. I welcome what he has done.

Mr. Powell

To facilitate the moving and acceptance of Amendment No. 78, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendments made: No. 78, in page 42, line 4, at end insert: '( ) In this Act any reference to a person's political opinion does not include an opinion which consists of or includes approval or acceptance of the use of violence for political ends connected with Northern Irish affairs (including the use of violence for the purpose of putting the public or any section of the public in fear)'.

No. 79, in line 5, leave out 'provide' and insert 'afford'.—[Mr. Concantzon.]

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